Is it legal to wash paint down the drain?

The Short Story Paint from inside a bin exploded everywhere when the garbage men came to collect this morning. The victim: Karen's car. In the next half hour she was refused permission to clean her car, my fence was broken (almost taking off my head in the process), and most of the water based paint was washed down the drain. Any of this legal?! The Long Story This morning as the garbage was being collected a paint can exploded from inside one of the bins (no idea who owned the bin, didn't see that bit) and went all over the road and sidewalk directly in front of my house, splattered all over my father's co-worker's car, and small amounts made it past my front gate and onto other cars. Now my neighbourhood isn't ritsy and I've gotten used to the old paint splatter that was on the sidewalk between my house and my neighbour's so this new giant paint splatter hardly seemed to matter to me, it's the cleaning that got to me. Across the road a man was in his car and witnessed the event. He got some paint splattered onto his car but since it was very little he cleaned it off before it could dry, Karen however (The lady who owned the once maroon now white car) wasn't allowed to touch it until some officials came along. This was a while later and the paint was now almost dry and after being very condescending towards Karen, he eventually called in for the cleaners before retreating to his expensive car leaving Karen's only car to be cleaned by the "professionals". They used a high pressure hose which seemed to be working until we realised that not only was it taking off the white paint, but also the car's original paint job. The paint on my fence was stripped by the hose which got my dog over excited (strange reaction from him since he's afraid of the garden hose) and he knocked down part of my fence, then when repairing what the dog had just done he broke the top of my fence which almost hit me in the head as I was trying to get my dog inside so he wouldn't escape. As the paint was washed away it went down the gutter. We're always told to wash our cars on our lawn so it doesn't go downt he drain and pollute (in Australia anyway, I don't know about the rest of the world). It was water based paint. Does that make it okay? I'd have thought any paint would pollute when washed down the drain... the fact that it had a rainbow swirl in the paint in the gutter disturbed me and I know that can't be safe. Is any of this illegal, because it doesn't sound at all legal to me.

Asked By: Becka - 2/24/2009
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
First, the police should have been called to detail the "accident". Second, the person who put wet paint in the trash should be held responsible (should have been easy to find out who it was). And the trash collectors as well... More
Answered By: Isabella S - 2/24/2009
Additional Answers (2)
Sounds like a rough day for you guys... O.o
Answered By: Eaglepelt, RiverClan Deputy - 2/24/2009
What state do you live in? I'm pretty sure that it's illegal to dispose of paint in the garbage. You must take it to a household hazardous waste collection facility. In California, fines for illegal disposal of paint waste may be between $5000 and $50,000 and include time in state prison.
Answered By: LobsterTail - 2/24/2009
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